Dr Liz Isenring is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and Clinical Academic Fellow at Princess Alexandra Hospital and Senior Lecturer in Master of Dietetic Studies at University of Queensland in Brisbane. In 2009 she completed an NHMRC Australian Clinical Training Fellowship investigating the nutritional management of older adults at Flinders University, Adelaide and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane. Prior to that she worked as a clinical dietitian and in a conjoint academic and research position. Her PhD and bachelor degree were both completed at QUT. Liz is an associate editor for Nutrition and Dietetics and Current Oncology and has actively contributed to the Dietitians Associations of Australia activities at the state and national level.
Tell me a little bit about your job and/or describe a typical day for you?
My role depends on the day of the week! I work betwen the Princess Alexandra Hospital and the University of Queensland researching effective nutrition interventions for older adults and patients with cancer and teaching Master of Dietetic students in their clinical courses. So my day may be spent discussing clinical cases with students, meeting with research assistants to discuss the progress of a trial or writing papers.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I love the variety- I never have a chance to get bored! I love seeing how our students progress during the masters program and after graduation I’m very proud to see how they are contributing to our profession. I really enjoy working with talented clinicans and seeing how a case or problem may be solved by different approaches.
Tell me a little bit about your career in dietetics thus far and/or why did you choose dietetics as a career?
I actually started my student life studying Pharmacy but prior to pre-registration year realised that I wanted to prevent people’s health problems rather than treat the symptoms. I always enjoyed science, health, food and cooking (and eating!) so dietetics seemed an interesting option. I’m very glad I studied dietetics and have enjoyed a variety of work in different settings since.
Dr Isenring’s research interests lie broadly within the area of Medical Nutrition Therapy. These include the nutritional management of older adults and patients with cancer. Liz has conducted research into the area of nutritional screening, assessment, including body composition, and using standardised dietetic language to demonstrate improved outcomes. Dr Isenring has been involved in the development of several sets of evidence-based nutritional management guidelines, writing 50 peer reviewed articles and presented at over 30 conferences.
How did you get into research?
I was working as a clinical dietician and realised there were quite a few gaps in the evidence guiding our professional practice. I was very lucky to have two excellent mentors who encouraged me to try small research projects and then undertake a PhD to help build the evidence to guide practice.
Why do you undertake research?
I believe the greatest impact I can have in terms of improving the nutritional care for patients and their families is via research and helping to translate this evidence into improved patient services and outcomes. I also enjoy supporting young researchers to work towards their goals.
What would be your number one tip to someone starting their career in dietetics?
Make the most of opportunities, try a range of things and play to your strengths! There’s nothing wrong with trying a range of dietetic jobs and finding the parts that you do and don’t enjoy. I believe it’s better to focus and work in those areas that you find interesting and come easier to you. Always make an effort to chat to people during dietetic events and PD days- you never know who may become a prospective employer or friend!
What is one interesting fact about you?
I learnt to scuba dive at 17yo and have done some amazing dives all over the world (but not so many since having kids!)